"A farm is not just a clever crop..."

Brief article in The Economist about the uptick in GM crops.
GM seeds that come from government research bodies, or from local firms, may not arouse quite so much opposition as those from large foreign companies, especially when they provide characteristics that make crops better, not just easier to farm.

Is it really more likely that government-sponsored research will return better, safer technology than large companies?
From soil management to weather forecasts to the preservation, study and use of agricultural biodiversity, there are many ways to improve the agricultural systems on which the world’s food supply depends, and make them more resilient as well as more profitable.
Maybe soil science will be your jackpot? I think it would be undesirable if GM development became so profitable that other ways to improve farming were pushed to the wayside, but I highly doubt that would happen (speaking with all my farming-ish authority:). How much of the food currently produced is GM? And how much potential benefit is possible from GM crops?
A farm is not just a clever crop: it is an ecosystem managed with intelligence.
Truth. Get those Cornell kids to save the world's food!


Ahh the GM argument, where do I start. The Economist has a point, but how successful would it really be? Try some major PR.

A lot of seeds do come from government research bodies(cough cough Cornell and its different research facilities and numerous other land grant colleges). The gene gun that was first used to make GM crops came from Cornell. Also, the government has numerous seed banks storing millions of different types of seeds to protect the genotypes and to be used for future research. These large seed companies work with the government, and these companies have the money to change policy. I would have to argue that most of the large producers of GM seeds are US companies. For the most part, we are the leaders in GM seeds, the EU currently has a ban on GM crops.

That being said, the ideology is created by the state. The state has the opportunity, resources, money and influence to make GM crops more accepted. I do agree with the Economist, that with the increased use of GM crops also has to come profitable sustainable agriculture practices.

Final note, the U.S. government has taken the back seat in most of the current food debates, this is a perfect example. I did a term paper on the patenting of life relating to GM seeds and basically there was one Supreme Court (DIAMOND v. CHAKRABARTY) case that has allowed for all the GM seeds we have today. In my opinion, that single case changed the American food system forever(hopefully I can do more research on this someday -- law school?). That being said, most of the media focuses on specific companies and practices -- not the government, the ones who have created the mess. The American pubic is out of touch as to what farming is and how it should be done so that we can feed our country. Farmers have been the scapegoat for the government and the large corporations for over 20 years. Things need to change.